Like many other Chilean coastal towns and cities, Viña del Mar consists of two areas: one of winding streets and houses clinging precariously to the hills, while the other, lying between the hills and the sea, is built along the strict formality of the colonial era grid plan. Viña, often called the tourism capital of Chile, has an area of 172 square kilometers and just over 300 thousand inhabitants.
Cerro Castillo (Castle Hill)
Quinta Vergara is where the city’s main square,
There are two kilometers of beaches in the Reñaca district, which has recently become the new focus of holiday activities, with a wide selection of hotels, shopping centers, restaurants and discotheques. Only thirty years ago all this land was sand dune and forest, but today it is an important tourist and residential area with new neighborhoods, such as El Jardín del Mar, Las Golondrinas and Los Pinos, sprouting up almost overnight.
To the north of the city is this gastronomic district with restaurants that range from the unassuming
The center is formed in the shape of a rectangle, and bounded by the railway line in the south and the Marga Marga Estuary in the north. Towards the east the
The city is built on the grid system—locally called "de los nortes"—typical of colonial towns, with Avenida Libertad as its main axis. On the left of the Avenue six streets head off to the west, on the right seven head east. From north to south there are another fifteen streets. This is one of the most sought after residential neighborhoods, with houses that have the spirit of the past stamped firmly in their architecture. Today, many of what used to be private dwellings are now restaurants and pubs.
Viña del Mar has the slow pace of a provincial town. It is not uncommon to see the inhabitants stop whatever it is they are doing at around midday to have a cup of coffee in one of the many traditional cafeterias to be found here. At two in the afternoon, all of the local banks close for the day, and many stores shut for a siesta that lasts until 4:30. When they reopen, however, they serve customers late into the evening.